I don’t usually write two blog posts in one day, and since I had my weekly video this morning, this is a bit out of the ordinary. But I came across an article that I had to comment on.
The article mentions a trendy furniture store in the UK called HabitatUK. They recently started using Twitter and began by using #hastags. The bad thing was they used hastags that were completely irrelevant to their company, brand, or products. Hastags like #iphone, #mms, and #Apple.
Either that was a blatant attempt at spamming or their marketing folks don’t understand Twitter at all. Either way, it was a huge red mark on their reputation and generated numerous tweets slamming HabitatUK. Not only that, but this whole experience is being reference as a case study in how not to use Twitter.
It didn’t take long for HabitatUK to respond to the negative publicity (they must have learned from Domino’s failed attempt to ignore social media). Unfortunately, they didn’t learn completely. HabitatUK attempted to sweep the issue under the carpet by deleted the offending tweets and replace with generic product tweets. HabitatUK should realize that nothing is ever deleted online – the caching ability of Twitter Search allows these spam-like tweets to be seen by all.
Some important take-aways from this experience:
SPAM is SPAM no matter what the medium – don’t deceive your potential customers into thinking something that is not true.
Be authentic by working on relationship building and move away from traditional marketing tactics.
Once on the web – always on the web. Tools like Google caching, Twitter search caching, and archive.org make it virtually impossible to delete undesirable content from the web.
If you make a mistake online (which you likely will, will all will) do not attempt to ignore or hide – it will be worse than facing the consequences and learning from them.
Using a tool (in this case Twitter) for a negatively-perceived task can hurt that tool’s reputation and validity of the usefulness of the tool in mainstream business practices.
Anyone who is involved with the web, social media, or marketing really needs to read this post or others like it to learn from the unfortunate experience of HabitatUK so as not to repeat them.